Ness art project threatens angler safety

Detailed plans for ‘The Gathering Place’ project on the River Ness reveal an unacceptable risk to the safety of anglers. Inverness Angling Club claims that the plans, seen unofficially by club representatives for the first time, show that the proposed wall extends further into the river than indicated in artist’s impressions.

In moderate river levels, the depth of the water at the most extreme pillar of the wall would be around 1.3 metres (4.26 feet). In such conditions the water would be just below an angler’s waist. But the wall extends over two metres (6.5 feet) beyond this, at a point where the bed of the river shelves into deeper water.

The club believes this could risk the safety of anglers tempted to wade round the point of the wall to continue fishing. The only alternative would be to leave the river, negotiate the wall and begin fishing several metres downstream of the wall, denying access to a significant stretch of productive salmon water.

President Alex Elliott explained: “We have always had serious concerns about the extent of the wall’s intrusion into the river. It is a potential threat to the safety of anglers. There is also a threat to the general public. Anyone accidentally falling off the end of the wall would be going into fairly fast, deep water from which they may have to be rescued.

“We are also aware that the action of medium to high water on the pillars and point of the wall will cause a significant eddy. This is likely to shift gravel, interfere with the beach and fundamentally change the nature of one of the most attractive pools on the river. As far as we know, this has not been properly assessed by hydrologists.

“For many months we have been asking The Highland Council to show us detailed plans in order to satisfy these concerns. But all we get are artist’s impressions. As a result, we have been unable to assess the full impact of the project until now. These major concerns must be resolved before major construction works begin.”

Alex added: “We are disappointed by the council’s potentially unsafe decisions on this. Unlike others, we have raised no objections to the art project. We co-operated fully with the council and trusted councillors and staff to consider our interests. But it appears our trust has been misplaced and we have been kept in the dark over crucial detail.”

Metal wall: The left bank of the popular Little Isle Pool prepared for construction of 'The Gathering Place'


Inverness Angling Club

Ness Walk

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